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"Teen Toxing" Trend Gains Traction

Posted: July 2, 2010
Timid girl

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While smoothing wrinkles is just one of many uses of Botox (the toxin is also used to treat heavy sweating, crossed eyes, migraines and neurological disorders), recent reports of teens as young as 15 getting Botox have prompted organizations such as the Physician’s Coalition for Injectable Safety to come out against a “teen toxing trend.”

“I’ve heard from colleagues that kids are coming in with their moms and saying, ‘Can I have Botox, too? I feel like I need it,’” says Dr. Mark Jewell, a plastic surgeon from Eugene, Oregon, and spokesperson for the Coalition. “Botox is a blockbuster of a product, but should a teenager be getting it? I think the answer is no.”

Other practitioners, such as New York-based plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Yager, say Botox can sometimes be beneficial in younger patients. “The great majority of people under 21 don’t need Botox, but there are some who do, and they shouldn’t be excluded just because of their age as long as they’re over 18 and understand the risks and benefits,” he says. “Each patient need needs to be properly evaluated—you can never say always or never.”

Jewell concedes that Botox “may be appropriate” for a teen if “there’s a convincing reason,” but is mainly worried teen toxing reports could lead to unsafe practices. “I think the biggest thing here is helping young people make good decisions,” he says.

But everybody’s doing it!